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The Big Reveal - Final Piece for The Big Win - a modern morality tale at The Laing, Newcastle

The Big Reveal - Final Piece for The Big Win - a modern morality tale at The Laing, Newcastle
No.7 - The Big Win, a modern morality tale


The Big Reveal: The Big Win
May 2012

A tale of the triumph of celebrity culture is unveiled as Barnaby Barford presents the final sculpture for The Big Win: A Modern Morality Tale at the Laing Art Gallery.

The Laing asked visitors to contribute their ideas to artist Barnaby Barford as to what the seventh sculpture would be, adding to the story of an unemployed layabout who wins the lottery, only to waste all his money.

Since being on display from September 2011, the Gallery received over 1200 submissions from different age groups, all keen to contribute to the artwork and the story. Visitors have either drawn or written their responses providing many touching, clever and amusing endings. The majority hoped to see the main character getting his just deserts, but some endings involved redemption, in the hope that the moral would be that money isn't everything.  

Barford's sculpture loosely based on the narrative painting of ‘A Rake’s Progress’ by 18th Century artist William Hogarth, was joined by the final sculpture on 1 May and will be on display at the Laing until 2 September 2012.

Unlike Hogarth's Rakes progress the final piece shows the main character rich again, hanging out of a limousine having managed to sell his story to the press regaining his celebrity status. The moral for the 21st century - that fame and money can be easily acquired by a story of disreputable behaviour. However, in aspiring to be like wealthy celebrities, has the character become a form of entertainment for others? 


About the final sculpture, Barnaby Barford says: 

“It’s really refreshing to get the public involved in this piece of art, it gives a new perspective on things. The final piece is crucial to the moral of the whole collection and I feel the visitors really understood this.”

Barford has created a piece that continues, but does not close off the story – and so is still open to interpretation where visitors can draw their own conclusions as to what could happen next.

Julie Milne, Chief Curator of Art Galleries, says:
“It is an exciting approach to get visitors involved in contributing to an art work, especially given that the ideas in Barford’s work are so pertinent today. We hope this has not only given visitors an insight into the world of the artist / curator – but also been an enjoyable experience in visiting the Laing.”

The ceramic sculptures are typical of Barford’s satirical style as he explores and celebrates human beings, exploring all aspects of society which provoke and are somewhat appalling at times, whilst at the same time, making us laugh.

To see a selection of visitors’ comments, please visit:


The Laing Art Gallery is open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sundays from 2pm to 5pm.  Admission is free.  For more details visit or find the Laing on Facebook, Twitter @laingArtGallery and Flickr.



Media Contact: 
Susie Kennedy

Tel: (0191) 277 2170